Psychology 2134B-650 (online)

Psychology of Language

If there is a discrepancy between the outline posted below and the outline posted on the OWL course website, the latter shall prevail.


            This course introduces the vocabulary and concepts used by psychologists who study human language. The course covers traditional psycholinguistic topics such as meaning, speech perception, comprehension, production and theories of language acquisition.


Prerequisite: At least 60% in a 1000 level Psychology course

0.5 course


Unless you have either the requisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enrol in it, you may be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.


       Instructor: Eriko Matsuki                                        

       Office Hours: By appointment only               



            *I will check my email regularly and will get back to you in 24 hours on weekdays. Please include “Psych 2134” in the subject line. I will also check the course website frequently. You are encouraged to post your questions on OWL forum so that everyone can benefit from the answer and would have the opportunity to discuss.

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you.  Please visit: for more information on these resources and on mental health.

Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 519-661-2111 ext 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.


Ludden, D. (2016). The Psychology of Language: An integrated approach.  Los Angeles, CA: Sage. ISBN: 978-1-4522-8880-2 - *Required

The textbook is available at the bookstore and Amazon (Kindle Edition is also available). Although I will provide lecture notes for each chapter on OWL, they do not a substitute for the textbook. You need to have the textbook to succeed in the course.



The field of psycholinguistics is the study of how people produce and understand language. It is a branch of cognitive science, which is the study of mental processes. This course will cover many areas of language research, including: the structure of language; language acquisition; speech perception and production; sentence processing; reading; language and the brain; and language disorders. The goal of the course is to familiarize you with psychological phenomena related to language, theories that try to explain how and why these phenomena occur, and experimental evidence supporting or challenging these theories.


By the end of the course, you will be able to:


-Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes relevant to psycholinguistics. This

 outcome will be assessed via multiple choice quizzes and exams.


-Understand how research informs theory and vice versa. This outcome will be assessed via multiple

 choice quizzes and exams.


-Engage in a critical scholarly discussion using evidence to support claims. This outcome will be

 encouraged and developed via online discussion.


-Apply knowledge from basic research to come up with potential problem solutions. This outcome will

 be encouraged and developed via online discussion.


Course Quiz: 1%

You are required to review the syllabus and the course site to know the expectation of the course and what to do to get the best learning outcome.


Quizzes: 6% (1% x 6)

A quiz will be posted for every two chapters (each quiz worth 1 %) and will be available for a week. The purpose of the quizzes is to provide you the sense of learning progress over the term by assessing your understanding of the materials and to help you prepare for the exams. Marks for each quiz will be lost if you miss the deadline, unless a medical note is provided. It is your responsibility to make sure that the quiz is submitted properly before the deadline. Avoid taking the quiz at the last minute, because your answers may not be submitted properly if you pass the deadline while you are working on it (and if that happens, you will NOT have a chance to redo it). More details will be posted on OWL.


Assignments: 6% (2% x 3)

There will be three short assignments (each worth 2%). Details about the assignments will be posted on OWL.


Online Discussion: 12% (4% x 3)

There will be three online discussions and you are expected to participate in each discussion. The topics will be posted on the course website under “Forums”. You will be required to post your own response for a given topic and to comment on other students. Each discussion is worth 4% of your total course grade. Marks for each discussion will be lost if you miss the deadline, unless a medical note is provided. More details will be posted on OWL.


Exams:   25% (25% x 3)

There will be thee multiple-choice exams (closed book). Exams are non-cumulative however concepts in later chapters build on those that we learned in the early chapters. The exams will be based on the materials covered in the textbook and supplemental materials posted on OWL. See section 6.0 for the dates and locations.

Although the Psychology Department does not require instructors to adjust their course grades to conform to specific targets, the expectation is that course marks will be distributed around the following averages:

70%     1000-level and 2000-level courses
72%     2190-2990 level courses
75%     3000-level courses
80%     4000-level courses
The Psychology Department follows Western's grading guidelines, which are as follows (see ):

A+  90-100      One could scarcely expect better from a student at this level
A    80-89        Superior work that is clearly above average
B    70-79        Good work, meeting all requirements, and eminently satisfactory
C    60-69        Competent work, meeting requirements
D    50-59        Fair work, minimally acceptable
F    below 50    Fail

Grades will not be adjusted on the basis of need. There will not be an opportunity to improve your grades by doing extra assignments.


Midterm Exam 1 (25%)

Date: 2pm on Saturday, February 3

Location: Room 101, North Campus Building

Chapters: 1, 2, 3, & 4


Midterm Exam 2 (25%)

Date: 2pm on Saturday, March 10

Location: Room 110, Middlesex College

Chapters: 5, 6, 7, & 8


Final Exam (25%)

Date & Location: TBA (between the exam period April 14-30, 2018)

Chapters: 9, 10, 11, & 12







Jan. 8

Animal Communication and Human Language



Jan. 15

The Science of Language

Ch. 2


Jan. 22

Speech Perception

Ch. 3


Jan. 29

Speech Production

Ch. 4


Feb. 3




Feb. 5


Ch. 5


Feb 12


Ch. 6


Feb. 19

Reading Week





Ch. 7


Mar. 5

Reading and Writing

Ch. 8


Mar. 10




Mar. 12


Ch. 9


Mar. 19

Signed Language

Ch. 10


Mar. 26

Language Development

Ch. 11


Apr. 2

Language, Culture, and Thought

Ch. 12


Apr. 14 -30




Students are responsible for understanding the nature and avoiding the occurrence of plagiarism and other scholastic offenses. Plagiarism and cheating are considered very serious offenses because they undermine the integrity of research and education. Actions constituting a scholastic offense are described at the following link:

As of Sept. 1, 2009, the Department of Psychology will take the following steps to detect scholastic offenses. All multiple-choice tests and exams will be checked for similarities in the pattern of responses using reliable software, and records will be made of student seating locations in all tests and exams. All written assignments will be submitted to TurnItIn, a service designed to detect and deter plagiarism by comparing written material to over 5 billion pages of content located on the Internet or in TurnItIn’s databases. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between Western and

Possible penalties for a scholastic offense include failure of the assignment, failure of the course, suspension from the University, and expulsion from the University.


Western’s policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness can be found at: 

Students must see the Academic Counsellor and submit all required documentation in order to be approved for certain accommodation:


Office of the Registrar web site:

Student Development Services web site:

Please see the Psychology Undergraduate web site for information on the following:

- Policy on Cheating and Academic Misconduct
- Procedures for Appealing Academic Evaluations
- Policy on Attendance
- Policy Regarding Makeup Exams and Extensions of Deadlines
- Policy for Assignments
- Short Absences
- Extended Absences
- Documentation
- Academic Concerns
- 2017 Calendar References

No electronic devices, including cell phones and smart watches, will be allowed during exams.